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Public Land Expansion Secured by Senator Heinrich

A map of the expansion of the public land secured by Senator Martin Heinrich.
Trust for Public Land
A map of the expansion of the public land secured by Senator Martin Heinrich.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is welcoming the federal acquisition of 3,700 acres of land adjacent to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in Taos County, N.M. This move was led by Senator Heinrich and the acquisition was announced by Trust for Public Land and completed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The newly acquired land is southwest of Ranchos de Taos on the east side of N.M. Highway 68 across from the Taos Valley Overlook Trails. It will allow new public land access and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation and traditional land uses. It will also expand an important wildlife corridor for migratory species like elk by connecting the Carson National Forest, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Picuris Pueblo, and Taos Pueblo. This acquisition will protect this land that is at high risk for commercial development and preserve a treasured view shed in Taos County.

Senator Heinrich said,“The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument has protected the natural wonders and cultural heritage that have always made Northern New Mexico unique. This historic expansion of our public lands system will block future commercial development near the Monument, protecting the hiking, whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, and traditional land uses that have made the Rio Grande del Norte such a treasured place.”

Over the last few years, Heinrich worked in partnership with local leaders, Taos Pueblo, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and Trust for Public Land to complete this acquisition from a willing private landholder. Heinrich first announced the potential for this new addition to New Mexico’s public lands at a September 2022 Public Lands Day Celebration in Taos.

Heinrich helped secure the acquisition by delivering over $16.6 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.